Monday May 29th 2017 marked my fifth year in a row attending Slam Dunk Festival at Hatfield University in Hertfordshire. The line up has always been really stacked with the best bands in punk, ska, rock, metal and all other alternative genres and this 2017 edition was obviously no different. Of course, I was there for the punk and ska stage which was rammed with some of the biggest name ever in the ska and pop punk genres. This year Emma was with me as well, attending her very first Slam Dunk Festival. (Emma’s parts of this review are in italics.)
Slam Dunk Festival was Fenix TX's first UK appearance in many, many years. Fenix TX were a big part of the Drive Thru Records roster that first got me into punk rock music all those years ago. When they were announced for the line up I was so excited. I am very pleased to say that Fenix TX did not disappoint! Starting out with the opening track from Lechuza Phoebe Cates was a master stroke. This got those of us in the crowd who were old enough to have known Fenix TX way back when invested into the set properly and the sing-a-longs kept coming and coming. The set included favourites such as Threesome, Minimum Wage, Katie W and A Song For Everyone before closing on my personal favourite, All My Fault. For a band that so rarely play shows Fenix TX were so tight and their onstage banter, whilst maybe not being to everyone's taste, had me thoroughly entertained. It was so good to finally see Fenix TX after all these years and it was the best possible start to the day.
But the good stuff. Oh there was so much good stuff! The event was organised brilliantly, with the festival organisers giving out plenty of information prior to the festival and during. There wasn't a single bad band that I saw and no watching filler sets whilst waiting for a band that I actually wanted to see. There wasn't a single time when I had a bad view of the stage and, like I mentioned earlier, the sound was fantastic. Especially for an outside event. The line-up for the entire festival was first class, probably the best Slam Dunk has ever had and, in my own humble opinion, is easily stronger than the three more mainstream alternative festivals Reading/Leeds, Download and Glastonbury. The crowd was also one of the nicest Slam Dunk crowds that I've been part of, everyone was really friendly and looked after each other in the pits. I had a great time dancing in a smaller pit that opened up at the back of the crowd during Reel Big Fish's set. Five Slam Dunks down, this was probably the best yet. Bring on next year!
This review was written by Colin and Emma.